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not an issue here. social security didn't contribute to the deficits and debt. i don't think there will be any appetite whatsoever for touching social security. but those points i think democrats are quite unified on. the area where i think there is room for negotiation and compromise is, the rates are going to go up. i think we all recognize that. will the rates go up completely? are there other ways where they can come up somewhat short of that but make up the revenues by reducing deductions from higher income families? >> so the deal that we're talking about is halfway between the current rate and the former rate? >> well, i wouldn't say halfway. but i would say, as long as you can get to the revenues, if you can increase the rates and reduce the deductions for upper income households, you can get to the same dollar number and i think there's a willingness to entertain that. it does tend to complicate the tax code. the simplest way is simply to raise the tax rates up to the clinton levels and, you know, we do have a strong interest in simplifying the tax code. but if that's politically for
balanced approach to the deficit. it does have some revenue in it, even though it's not from tax increases. so what does this opening offer say about where we are in these negotiations? >> well, it seems very difficult to imagine that we're going to be getting to a deal that will handle everything that needs to be addressed before the end of the year. i think the first main thing that needs to be addressed is the question of the tax cuts expiring. and for the obama administration, the question is, is it in their interest to trade tax cuts for the wealthy? increase for the wealthy for raising the age for eligibility for medicare, for example. i'm not sure that that's a trade that they are eager to make immediately. >> let me show you the side by side comparison. the president wants $1.6 trillion in revenue and republicans want to cap the same deductions for the rich but republicans want to change the age to 67 and change the way they calculate social security payments. i wonder, though, when we look at these numbers, are we that far apart in. >> i think they are definitely rather far aare p
. >> most americans know that a big driver of the deficit and the biggest expenses we have are entitlements. you said grover norquist house of cards may come crumbling down. is the bigger problem revenue or democrats not wanting to give big cuts on entitlement? >> no. i think the bigger problem is grover norquist if you want to know the truth. he's the bigger problem because he threatens republicans with primaries. so you had several republicans who expressed that they were willing to moderate their view and that they felt their most important pledge was to the u.s. constitution and not to grover norquist. what did grover norquist do? he took their quotes, called them up, he had conversations with them and he read them line by line their quote and essentially threatened them with primaries. he's the problem. if grover norquist wants to run government he needs to run office. >> you have people like saxby chambliss to indicate they were backing away from their pledge. grover norquist gets on the phone to them in the last several days and report of phone calls are that suddenly chambliss is go
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